By Jesse Granger, VCPC correspondent
The Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) is holding its annual conference on Friday, December 2, 2016 at the Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia. The theme of the conference is “Living with the Water: Too Much, and Too Little,” and one of the sponsors is Virginia Environmental Endowment. The Governor has been invited to the reception capping this highly-anticipated event, which will feature a number of other important speakers and guests.
“We are very excited about the speakers and presentations scheduled for our fall conference,” said Elizabeth Andrews, director of VCPC. “We are looking forward to hosting a discussion of two of our most pressing issues in coastal Virginia: the impacts of rising sea levels, and diminishing groundwater resources.”
The morning session of the conference is being held in collaboration with the second annual Working Waterfronts Summit—a project orchestrated by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program in collaboration with the Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS).
The Working Waterfronts project tries to preserve key coastal resources, like oysters and sea grasses, and ensure that the Commonwealth can continue to derive economic benefit from the sustainable harvest of these resources. The program is currently focused on protecting the land-side infrastructure that keeps our coastal communities and economies thriving, such as property that provides access to coastal waters or that supports water-related commercial, industrial, and recreational business.
During the conference there will be presentations along with discussion of the new Virginia Working Waterfront Master Plan. The plan is a multi-faceted project with the goal of engaging stakeholders, informing communities, and developing government policies to preserve valuable resources.
The afternoon session of the conference will be dedicated to discussing the Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s groundwater injection proposal, a plan to add advanced wastewater treatment to several facilities to produce high-quality water to replenish local groundwater. The Hampton Roads Sanitation District has a goal of pumping 120 million gallons per day into the aquifer by 2030.
Following the conference, there will be a late afternoon reception held on William & Mary’s campus at the Muscarelle Museum. Leading up to the event, VCPC will also be hosting a series of lectures at the Muscarelle Museum on the first Tuesday of September, October, and November. See below for details.
Go here for more information on the conference or call 757-221-3780.
6 p.m. at Muscarelle Museum of Art
September 6: The Science Behind Sea Level Rise and the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load
Carl Hershner, professor and director of the Center for Coastal Resources Management at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, will review science behind sea level rise and the total maximum daily load and explain what motivates current efforts to manage ourselves. Drawing on 45 years of experience living and working in this region, he will point out what we have seen change. Then, reviewing what we currently understand about the drivers of change in this system, he will explain what we anticipate in coming decades.
October 4: Part 1: Sea Level Rise: What is Virginia doing about it?
Elizabeth Andrews, Director of the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School, will discuss the state’s initiatives to try to fully understand and
address sea level rise and assist our coastal localities that are on the front line for flooding impacts.
Part 2: Restoring the Chesapeake Bay by 2025: Are we on track?
Peggy Sanner, Virginia assistant director and senior attorney for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, will talk about the steps Virginia has already taken to restore the Bay and what challenges it still faces.
November 1: Virginia’s Current Environmental Initiatives: Recent Progress & Potential Obstacles
Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward will address the Commonwealth’s current environmental initiatives, discussing both recent progress and potential obstacles that lie ahead. Areas of focus will include the Chesapeake Bay clean-up, land conservation, sea level rise, subsidence and efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. She will also offer insight into the Commonwealth’s environmental mitigation strategies.
An extension partner of Virginia Sea Grant, VCPC at William & Mary Law School provides policy and legal analysis to its partners on coastal resource and community issues in its mission to educate and train the future lawyers and leaders of tomorrow.